I'm obsessed with classroom transitions.
Last Thursday I did my Transform Your Transitions Online Course and we had FUN!
One thing we spoke about was singing the directions to children rather than saying them.
You may have heard me advocate for singing the directions before - in your inbox if you receive my weekly newsletter, on a webinar, in my in-person training on classroom transitions if you've been to one, or right here in another post on transitions.
Honestly, I'm going to say it over and over and over again because I'm on a mission to get early childhood educators everywhere to start singing the directions. Chanting also works if you're not musically inclined. (Which, by the way I am NOT! Yet, I sang in the online course last week all by myself (ha!). I sing when I'm leading trainings and giving presentations. And, of course I sing with preschoolers (honestly, that's the most comfortable for me). I used to cringe if any parents and family members or anyone other than my co-teachers were in the room).
Since the online Transitions course last Thursday I've had many teachers email me with the songs they use to sing directions or with new ones they're making up! It's fantastic. It makes my day and sometimes brings me tears of joy.
As we spoke about in the Transform Your Transitions course all you really need is one "piggy back song" - a familiar tune that you just make up words to for anything happening throughout your day! It's truly so simple and just absolutely the best once you get in a groove with it.
When you sing the directions you don't feel your blood pressure rising when you repeat yourself for the 8th time like you do when you are saying the direction, "Gabriella, it's time to put the toys away!!!!!!!!!!!!" !?&%$#@!!!! Instead, you and the children are participating in the joyful activity of singing together (it will shift the culture of your classroom over time and many of them will start singing with you, of course), while you move from the sink to get a paper towel, while putting on stubborn boots, while piling carpet squares, while riding bikes into the shed, while choosing books for nap time, or during whatever transition you're moving through.
Singing the directions is not just for clean up time.
And, even at clean up time I would recommend that maybe after 1-2 rounds of your general clean up time song you experiment with making up some new lyrics to that same tune that offer specific directions. For example, "now its time to clean up, clean up, clean up, now its time to clean up and put the play dough in the bag...zip the bag closed...put the bag on the shelf....go and sit on the rug...."
You can sing the directions to the whole class, or sing specific lyrics or a little jingle to an individual child or small group that needs some extra support.
By the way, next week I'm going to talk about another way songs and directions go together and can make your life easier! So, if this topic is of interest to you keep your eyes open for next week’s post. I'm pretty sure it might be something many of you haven't thought of before.
In the meantime I wanted to let you know that starting this Thursday I'm going to be doing my Transform Challenging Behavior Online Bootcamp. It's a crash course in one I teach in my 3-day Transform Challenging Behavior Training Series (usually done in-person for programs that hire me). To bring it to you online I've condensed it into five 2-hour modules and they'll happen roughly every two weeks from October 11-Dec 4th. This week it's Thursday, after that it'll be on Tuesdays but you can always watch the recordings after. 5-7pm Pacific time. I don't know if this will feel like a match for you but...
If you decide to purchase the BOOTCAMP you get the Transform Your Transitions course as a free bonus and that you can watch right away!
I don't know when I'll offer either of these courses again and it might not be until next Fall so check it out while you can if you're at all curious.
NOTE: I'm working on a figuring out a way for you all to share songs with each other! You all are such a wealth of knowledge and creativity and it shouldn't be just me getting to learn new songs when people email me with their great ideas. For now, feel free to share in the Transform Challenging Behavior Facebook Group - all early childhood professionals are invited!